Almost a quarter (23%) of all Americans believe the country has veered so far off track that “true American patriots” may need to resort to violence to save it, according to a report released in October by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). This is an increase from 15% in 2021. 

The findings from PRRI’s 2023 American Values Survey are especially notable leading into an election year. In the two years since the survey was last conducted, the report found an uptick in support of political violence among Democrats (from 7% to 13%), Independents (13% to 22%) and Republicans (from 28% to 33%). 

The belief that political violence may be necessary is also on the rise among all religious groups and those who are religiously unaffiliated. Nearly a third (31%) of White Evangelical Protestants hold this view, up from 24% in 2021, with Black Protestants at 24%, which has doubled since 2021. 

U.S. Catholics have seen the least amount of increase in support for political violence, with White Catholics at 20% and Hispanic Catholics at 21%. Both groups saw a 4% increase from 2021. 

Those who belong to religions that are not Christian saw the most significant increase, with 9% in 2021  saying that the state of the country may necessitate violence in 2021 and 23% holding this view in the 2023 survey. 

A link to PRRI’s report and downloads to the topline questionnaire and press release can be found here

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